Words By: Eugénie Michalopoulos
Welcome to 2021 – we should all feel relieved, right? Such ‘relief’ is met with unwavering uncertainty as most governments across the globe reactivate similar lockdown restrictions to what we saw in March 2020. No one escaped the wrath of 2020 and its COVID-19 rhetoric unscathed, leaving many humbled, overwhelmed and confused. Businesses, individuals, and governments were forced to totally transform their connectivity, processes, and operational structures; with the unquestionable necessity to innovate, become faster and multiply their attention to data and cyber security/privacy, through implementing – you guessed it – technology. Not to mention the aggressive rise in the adoption of AI and blockchain technologies globally; and yet many are still scrambling to jump on board. This includes the rise of the cryptocurrency phenomenon; with Ethereum (ETH) 2.0 launching and Bitcoin (BTC) jumping to astronomical prices, $38,000USD (at the time of writing), as retailers, intuitions and governments continue to invest hundreds of thousands, if not millions. Smart contracts will well and truly disrupt the macro and micro economic game. Countries closed borders and airports, and international trading markets came to a grinding halt with domestic and international supply chains and logistics completely dismantled. Multiple power-play agendas and the intensity of import/export trade agreements come to a head, as we saw (and still see) China and the United States of America impose weighty import tariffs on various goods such as electrical steel and autos. Having a direct impact on entire industries overnight. The European Commission predicts that Global GDP will fall by -3.5%, and the US GDP is expected to fall by -6.5%, while the GDP in China is expected to grow by 1% (European Commission, 2020).
No doubt the impact on businesses has been rampant. Many of the trends that were already underway pre-COVID have now been accelerated; with IT departments needing to service and facilitate a move to an entire workforce working remotely. Whole layers of middle management have been removed; creating a less-rigid hierarchical structure and the requirement of senior leadership having to change leadership styles and the strategic focus of entire organisations, forcing HR to devise new policies overnight.
E-commerce has no doubt overtaken the brick-and-mortar stores which seem such a distant memory, with many large department stores folding globally. Whilst we have seen a rise in large conglomerates, like Apple, Tesla, and Amazon, who continue to dominate their respective global industries, awareness must be given to the emerging pockets of fresh industries, small/medium niche businesses and communities that are increasingly becoming self-sufficient. Mainly due to a cascade of individuals that have innovated and unleased their creative nature – developing new solutions to new and existing problems. The way we do business and interact has been totally revolutionised, transcending international barriers through our digital interconnectivity; a way that has enabled us to feel connected through physical disconnection. And most importantly; I can’t forget the overwhelming growth of the health industry due to COVID-19 with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.22% by 2026.
If 2020 taught us something, it is that our external realities don’t define nor mould our trajectories; but it is our responses and perceptions of them that do. Perseverance, consistency, and agility are essential as we are now left to gather the rubble and consciously build strong integrated foundations within ourselves and within our small and large communities; with such foundations based on pillars such as conscious intention, loyalty, trust, and commonality. Whilst it is difficult to keep pessimism at bay, it is imperative to maintain the burning desire to optimistically seek opportunities that align with your overall professional and personal purpose.
In the 2021 Paradigm and beyond, my observation is that industries (a non-exhaustive list) such as electric, biotechnology, AI, automation and robotics, telecommunications, magnetics, eco-friendly, health, cybersecurity, and e-commerce will boom exponentially. The strengthening of these new industries, small/medium niche businesses and communities is key. The assimilation of technologies in our daily lives will continue and we will see the materialisation of new legal, political, and financial structures globally – this is something to be excited about. However, what is most significant is the creation of aligned and robust connections not only within and across these industries and communities, but also beyond country borders, through a re-emergence of globalisation.
We are experiencing the most exciting (and unbelievable) times in history as we know it, with so many possibilities available for the taking. The questions I now pose both professionally and personally are: how will you navigate through and contribute to the 2021 Paradigm and what will you create/build for your empire? Who do you want to be? It is difficult to ‘plan’ too far ahead in such unprecedented times, though, two things that will remain irrespective of the time and external chaos are: your values and your purpose. We are all at different stages of our journey and it is important to remember that we are only in competition with ourselves. However, before jumping in quickly to answer the posed questions I invite you to implore the two fundamentals: values and purpose. Take some time first to understand your positioning for each as your values usually act as a reference point of measure even in business, and your purpose helps to pave the way for your trajectory. These ensure you are moving in alignment with your conscience and that you have a solid core for what you want to create in the 2021 Paradigm.
In the next Issue of COSIGN Mag I will explore in depth some strategies businesses and individuals can adopt to build strong pillars, learn new skills and accelerate growth exponentially for profitability, longevity and credibility as we move into 2021.
Lawyer, Business Strategist, Writer & Philanthropist
If you’d like to connect or need some advice on how you can personally and professionally navigate through 2021; you may reach me via my website www.eugeniemichael.com or on my social handles as ‘Eugenie Michael/Michalopoulos’ on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, or Clubhouse.
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